Chris Christie and Coca-Cola Fight Obesity with Branded School Gyms

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Gov. Chris Christie, then President of Coca-Cola Steve Cahillane and Body by Jake’s Jake Steinfeld. Source.

We just unearthed this gem from 2013:

Fitness guru Jake Steinfeld has been traveling the country on his mission to end childhood obesity. This week he visited New Jersey where he met with Governor Chris Christie and Coca Cola President Steve Cahillane to open three brand new Live Positively Fitness Centers!

Steinfeld is a bodybuilder turned Body by Jake founder turned Coca-Cola advocate.

There’s so much to say about this. First, Coke’s not even hiding the fact that this initiative began explicitly as an alternative to soda taxes:

The Live Positively programs started about four years ago when Steinfeld, then chairman of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, cold-called Coke’s global chief customer officer Sandy Douglas, who at the time was president of Coca-Cola North America. Steinfeld was watching the council grapple with the state’s proposed soda tax. “I was in the room when they were talking about it, and I just felt that, ‘Hey, there’s got to be a better way,’” he remembers. Steinfeld reached out to Douglas — and together they came up with a plan for creating eight Live Positively fitness centers at elementary and middle schools in California.

Of course, branding elementary and middle school gyms with Coca-Cola’s “Live Positively” slogan does NOT constitute advertising to children. Remember, Coca-Cola assures us it does not “advertise to children under 12 years old.” And why would we not take Coke at its word?

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Coca-Cola not advertising to D.C. children.

Steinfeld’s Coca-Cola partnership continues today through the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, an organization Steinfeld chairs. Coca-Cola money has built Live Positively school fitness centers in Texas, Delaware, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

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Steinfeld, Christie, and the President of Coca-Cola cut the ribbon on a new fitness center.

In 2013, then President of Coca-Cola North America Steve Cahillane explained with Steinfeld how the Live Positively fitness centers relate to Coca-Cola marketing propaganda:

“There are some out there who say … don’t drink soda … And you and I know that’s a disservice. It’s about energy balance. And what’s more inspirational than telling people ‘go exercise, go get physically fit, go get active, go play, burn those calories. And then … you can afford to have a treat’ … And that’s what you guys are doing.”

Inspirational. And sure enough, the Coke president is right. The Live Positively fitness center campaign does promote this propaganda. Steinfeld told Coca-colacompany.com, “that’s why I exercise, so I can eat.” Don’t worry about cutting out soda kids, just use this Coca-Cola-branded fitness center to earn your calories.

Aren’t public-private partnerships great?

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Coca-Cola, Christie and Steinfeld again.

One comment

  1. I hate to burst the bubble here but exercise does little to combat obesity. The science has already spoken:
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-exercise-paradox/
    You really can’t run away from obesity. Run a mile and drink a soda is pure garbage. And by the way, whatever Chris Christie is doing for his weight problem, I would suggest doing just the opposite. These fitness centers are a complete joke. Soda is poison and no slick promotional program will change the facts.

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